Video games related to increased levels of loneliness and immune inflammation

Colorado State University-led research We have discovered a causal link between the loneliness of that “addictive” internet game and the activation of molecules that can cause an inflammatory response in the body.

Gamers experiencing disturbed gaming habits are often associated with increased levels of conserved transcriptional response (CTRF), which is an abnormality of the immune system. This condition is often caused by chronic stress, activating pro-inflammatory molecules that can cause inflammation, while reducing the immune response of antibodies and interferon. These are two of the most important immune responses to protect the body from viral infections such as COVID-19.

In addition, an elevated CTRF and an inflammatory immune system increase an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and cancer.

The team reviewed and analyzed previous studies conducted by the university, and the loneliness experienced by gamers was associated with an increase in “addictive” games such as engrossment, withdrawal, low tolerance, loss of control, and loss of interest. I found that I was doing it. Continued abuse, deception, negative emotional escape and dysfunction.

Further research has shown that for gamers, the greater the loneliness they experience, the greater their involvement in the game.

In addition, a small majority of participants interviewed by the team reported that while loneliness often leads to increased gameplay, “playing video games compounded rather than alleviated their perceived isolation.” Did.

However, not all online gaming experiences are negative, and some lonely gamers have been able to make up for their hobby isolation by building meaningful relationships online.

Some argue that the social connections that the gaming community has built have helped solve problems such as divorce and depression. In addition, intensive gaming habits are often associated with increased self-reporting to online social support, which can break the cycle by allowing a reduction in “chaotic” games.

Nonetheless, a team study of gamer blood samples found a correlation between low social well-being and elevated levels of CRTA, which are characterized by increased inflammation of immune cells.

Normally, cells inflame only when needed, such as during an infection, and pro-inflammatory molecules (molecules that cause inflammation) turn on and off as needed. However, with the constant increase in pro-inflammatory molecules, inflammation upsets the immune system, increases the risk of abnormalities in the body, and causes problems such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Respondents’ sense of social well-being is based on the feeling that “they contribute to society, belong to communities, society becomes a better place, people are good, and society makes sense.” It was measured.

Gamers with low social well-being and high levels of CRTA often play games intensively, but respondents who report high or average social well-being usually go to the game. There was a negative correlation with the presence of CRTA due to less involvement.

The authors argued that internet games are syndemic and are a combination of two or more illnesses or adverse conditions.

“The co-occurrence of game-related distress and changes in immune cell gene regulation represents the second form of distress that constitutes a potential syndemic,” the author writes.

Researchers insisted on it Related studies in the United States For improving mental health, we assumed that using happiness could treat elevated CRTA levels. This is the feeling of experiencing life as meaningful and purposeful.

The authors write that there is a correlation between the “richer is richer” and “poor” tendencies in the context of CTRA and chaotic gaming habits.

The team observed that highly involved gamers were strongly associated with lower CTRA if they had a more purposeful life experience.

“In contrast, among the players with low social well-being of well-being, those with high involvement suggest that the level of CTRA is significantly higher and that psychosomatic well-being is more impaired.”

On the other hand, for gamers in the “poor-get-poorer” cycle, “the time spent in intensive games deprives them of their ability to improve their lives by establishing meaningful connections.” It was not possible to improve social well-being.

Marina Chan


Marina Chan is based in Melbourne and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]